By on July 9, 2012

An open letter to API providers: Please stop fucking up the APIs ecosystem

API developers, stop fucking up!

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Dear developers (API providers),

Please stop fucking up your public APIs.

Every week there is an API that is changing, being shut down, or malfunctioning. If this trend continues, we lose trust in using third party services via APIs, and we’ll just go back to the old way, and reinvent the wheel by ourself.

Reliability and trust are the most important things for this ecosystem. We’re seeing an explosion of public APIs, so the trend is strong, but still fragile.

“Next time someone asks me why I keep reinventing the wheel, it’s because the wheel does not work”

This is what I heard from a developer few weeks back. And you know what? He’s right. You can’t launch an API, get people depending on you, and then wake up one day and say: “Sorry, we’re going to shut down this. Good luck!”

Do you want some recent examples?

Twitter is fucking it up, multiple times – Twitter is a Corporate API fucked up – API shutting down

Simplegeo fucked up – Urban Airship to shut down SimpleGeo

I think we’re at an inflection point. Go big or go home. The future of APIs can be either of the following:

  1. Third party APIs are going to be mainstream in software development. They will become THE way we build software.
  2. Third party APIs will be left in the dust, because developers have lost trust.

The destiny is controlled by all the API providers. The way they are going to respect and maintain their promises to their developers is crucial in defining the future of this ecosystem. Do less fanfare when you launch an API, stay heads down, and keep that API alive as much as you can. There are people who are investing their love and time on you.

Please stop playing around. We trust you, we rely on you. Don’t fuck it up.